NEW Bradwell St Peter maintained their unbeaten start to the South Midlands League Division One season with a hard fought 1-1 draw at local rivals Stony Stratford on Tuesday night.
It’s now four without loss for Peters who have been forced to play their first six games away from home because their Recreation ground venue is still in use for the cricket season.
It hasn’t fazed them though as they built on Saturday’s 2-2 draw at Welwyn Garden City by making it eight points out of a possible 12 at Ostlers Lane, but their equaliser came in rather controversial circumstances in a heated local derby.
Stony opened the scoring on the half hour mark through new recruit Shane Bouher, but Gary Flinn’s men hit back in the second period from the penalty spot after 65 minutes.
Danny Nichols stepped up to take the penalty for Peters, only to see his effort well saved by Tony Draper. But the referee spotted that the Stony keeper had moved off his line and so the kick was taken again – and this time Nichols made no mistake, much to the annoyance of Stony manager Chris Miller.
Peters pushed hard for a winner late on but it never came and Stony left the field probably the happier of the two sides following their 3-0 defeat to Chesham Utd Reserves on Saturday – they also lost the corresponding fixture at home to Peters 8-1 last season.
Miller said: “I didn’t see anything wrong with the penalty save. I don’t usually moan about penalty decisions because they tend to even themselves out, but I didn’t understand this one.
“And I’m a bit disappointed we didn’t get a penalty of our own late on. One of our coaches was behind the goal and was sure it should have been a penalty. But maybe the referee didn’t give it because of how it came about.”
The incident Miller is referring to came five minutes from time when, after players from both sides went down injured and play was stopped, Stony returned the ball to Peters’ goalkeeper. However, he was unable to control it and conceded a corner, sparking more animosity between both sides. Miller then claims a foul was committed and his side should have had the chance to win the game.
Peters boss Flinn said the referee was correct to allow Nichols to re-take his penalty after it had been saved by Draper, but was unhappy that his side only picked up a point from the game.
“To be honest I didn’t want Danny to take the kick again, but he picked up the ball and did it – so fair play to him,” he said. “But I wasn’t happy with the result and our performance – it was probably our weakest of the season so far.”
Peters’ strong start sees them third in Division One going into a trip to Sun Postal Sports while Stony sit half way up the table and entertain London Colney on Saturday.
Cranfield United host Kentish Town after picking up four points from their first three games of the season, most recently drawing 2-2 at home with Harpenden.
The opening day of the Division Two season was a memorable one for MK Wanderers who did what they failed to do for the whole of last season – win a game.
The Kents Hill side thrashed Pitstone & Ivinghoe 4-1 at home on Saturday and now – incredibly – top the table on goal difference.
A hat-trick from Neil Walton and one for Tyron Bere helped give new Wanderers boss Lee Erswell a dream start in charge following his move from North Bucks side Denbigh Hall in the summer.
Now they will be hoping to build some momentum, but already take a break from league action when they host Bedford in the Challenge Trophy first round on Saturday.
Erswell said: “I want to restore some pride at the club. We have one of the biggest youth set-ups in the city and it’s about time we had a successful senior side too. That’s the aim and if we finish in the top half of the table this season then we’ll have made good progress.”
It wasn’t such a good start to the new Division Two season for Bletchley Town who went down 3-1 at home to Totternhoe on Saturday, while Old Bradwell also lost out, 3-1 at The 61 FC (Luton). Bletchley host Caddington on Saturday while Old Bradwell go to Aston Clinton.
>> Newport Pagnell’s FA Cup dreams are well and truly alive and kicking after they sailed through their extra preliminary round tie away at Witney United.
The Swans hit top form to run out 4-0 winners in Oxfordshire. Dominic Lawless was the first on the scoresheet after 20 minutes and Newport’s lead was doubled by Keith Williams three minutes before the interval.
Lawless wrapped up a convincing win four minutes before the hour mark and Daren Dykes completed the scoring with 20 minutes remaining to set the Swans up with a home tie against Thame United in the preliminary round on September 3.
And Newport continued their superb goal-scoring form on Tuesday night when they returned to United Counties League Premier Division action.
Darren Lynch’s men were 5-0 winners at Thrapston Town, making it two wins in three to start the league season. Dykes opened the scoring two minutes in and that goal split the sides at the interval.
The Swans strengthened their position in the opening minute of the second half though with Dean Buss adding a second goal, and Richard Armstrong made it 3-0 10 minutes into the half.
Lawless then got his name on the scoresheet again after 69 minutes before Dykes netted his second two minutes later to complete their rout against last season’s Division One champions. The Swans should have a much tougher test this Saturday though when they head to Holbeach United.
Hoping to follow in Thrapston’s footsteps and seal promotion from UCL Division One to Premier Division are Olney Town who drew 0-0 away at Wootton Blue Cross on Saturday, making it four points from their first two games. Olney travel to Eynesbury Rovers on Saturday.
>> There will be something of a treat for MK football fans this Sunday when Newport Pagnell’s Willen Road plays host to a friendly match between a Swans XI and ‘The Wishing Well’ who are having something of a reunion.
They were a successful local Sunday League side of a decade ago and won the national Carlsberg Cup competition, winning their semi final at Anfield, and then the final at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff.
They then represented England in an international tournament in Portugal, and now 10 years on the team is getting back together to face Newport Pagnell, thanks to former boss Jason Rice.
Kick-off at Willen Road is at 11am, and there will be more than just football with a barbecue, bouncy castle and disco set to make it a fun day for the family.
NORTH BUCKS & DISTRICT LEAGUE
IT’S early day this season but already there are teams defending 100 per cent starts to the new campaign, with four clubs recording two wins from their first two games.
Deanshanger Athletic and Southcott top the Premier Division table with six points and Hanslope and Great Horwood lead the way in the Intermediate Division with two wins each.
There have been plenty of goals around in the first week of the season with Loughton Manor and MK Wanderers Reserves sharing six goals in their Premier Division meeting, while Bow Brickhill were 7-1 winners against Denbigh Hall in their Intermediate clash. In the same league City Colts won 5-1 away at Steeple Claydon and Hanslope’s latest victory came 3-1 at Wicken Sports.
Celtic MK have also enjoyed a good start and won 6-1 at MK Titans Reserves in their first Intermediate outing, and MK Churches began life in that division with a 2-1 win at Wicken who sit joint bottom of the table.
In Division One Woughton drew 3-3 with Southcott Reserves and Bletchley Bridge lost 3-2 at Stewkley. In Division Two Great Linford Reserves won 4-0 at MK Wanderers ‘A’ and City Colts Reserves edged a five goal thriller at Wicken Sports Reserves.
>> Clubs are encouraged to send in their match reports to firstname.lastname@example.org